Michael Dunlop targets first Ulster Grand Prix victory

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop has been in fine form on his Street Sweep Kawasakis

Michael Dunlop hopes to fill in the missing line in his international road racing CV by taking his first victory at the Ulster Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old has two Isle of Man TT wins to his name and also secured a memorable success at the North West 200 in 2008.

Dunlop may be waiting to break his duck at Dundrod but he does hold the Supersport lap record and is the fastest Irish rider ever around the circuit.

The Ballymoney rider performed impressively on the Street Sweep Kawasaki Superbike at the Southern 100 and is confident that he can see of his rivals on 13 August.

"I am the Supersport lap record holder at Dundrod but nobody remembers that," said Dunlop.

"People only remember the names of the winners and I'm confident I'll be able to put the Street Sweep bikes on the top step of the podium."

The younger of the Dunlop brothers will face stiff opposition from his brother William, plus a host of other top riders in a quality field.

William has pronounced himself happy with the Wilson Craig Hondas, and especially the Superbike which carried him to success at the Skerries road races in July.

He already has four Ulster GP wins to his name and could add to that tally on a circuit which he enjoys.

Australian Cameron Donald is another who is looking for his first Ulster GP win after a season which has seen him return to some form after his major crash at the TT two years ago.

The return of Honda TT Legends rider John McGuinness comes as a major boost to the event, coming two months after his latest brace of successes on the Isle of Man in June.

The Morecambe rider has won just two Ulster Grand Prix races, both back in 2005, but is a former lap record holder at Dundrod and with quality machinery at his disposal should challenge in all the races.

McGuinness will be joined in Honda colours by charging Scot Keith Amor, who like McGuinness will be making his only appearance of the year in Northern Ireland, having missed the ill-fated North West 200 in May.

Bruce Anstey
Bruce Anstey is the lap record holder at Dundrod

Amor won the second Supersport race at Dundrod last year and has the pedigree to win again, particularly in the 600 and Superstock events.

Guy Martin is a six-time winner at 'the Ulster' and will carry the hopes of the Relentless TAS Suzuki team at the final major UK road race of the season.

The 29-year-old has been in the spotlight more than ever this year but will be fired up for victory at Dundrod, having again failed to break his duck at the TT.

Bruce Anstey proved he is still a force to be reckoned by setting an absolute lap record in winning last year's Superbike race two and will be keen to add to his six successes at the meeting on board the Padgett's Hondas.

Lincolnshire's Gary Johnson flies the flag for the East Coast Racing Honda outfit and will be well fancied after securing a surprise TT victory in the Supersport class.

Ryan Farquhar will start as a hot favourite for the Supertwins class and should also be to the fore in the Superstocks, but his chances in the Superbike and Supersport classes may be limited.

McAdoo Kawasaki pilot Conor Cummins continues to impress on his return from serious injury and Ian Lougher will hope to make up for a relatively disappointing season by his standards.

Manxman Daniel Kneen could upset the established stars by claiming his first podium.

Practice and race schedule:

Wednesday 10 August - Roads close for practicing from 1330 BST to 2130 BST

Thursday 11 August - Roads close for practicing and Dundrod 150 races from 1030 BST

Saturday 13 August - Roads close for racing from 0930 BST

Race 1 - Superstock race

Race 2 - Supersport Race 1

Race 3A - 250cc Race

Race 3B - Supertwins Race

Race 4 - UGP Superbike Race

Race 5 - Supersport Race 2

Race 6 - Superbike Race 2